BOSTON When the Red Sox announced the hiring on Sunday of John Farrell as the new manager, it appeared the Sox got the guy they had been planning on all along, going back to last offseason when they attempted to pry him from the Blue Jays after Terry Francona was fired.
It also appeared that the interviews granted to Dodgers third base coach Tim Wallach, Padres special assistant Brad Ausmus, Yankees bench coach, and Orioles third base coach and former Sox bench coach DeMarlo Hale were little more than going through the motions.
Not so, said Sox presidentCEO Larry Lucchino, who was largely responsible for the negotiations with the Blue Jays that extricated Farrell from Toronto with one year remaining on his contract. Lucchino, who dealt with Paul Beeston, his Toronto counterpart and good friend, said he was not completely confident throughout the process of negations, which began around Oct. 10, that the deal would get done.
And thats why the suggestion that somehow we were making a mistake in bringing in other people to interview is I think unfounded, Lucchino said. There was a lot of uncertainty as to whether this thing could be done. And we had to prepare for Plan B.
I dont know, he said. I like to think it was sweet reasonableness that somehow reared its lovely head in the middle of the process. On both parts.
Still, it was a complicated process.
We had plenty of conversations, Lucchino said. You got to understand, Beeston and I are very good friends. So we can spend a lot of time talking about the War of 1812, or the American presidential campaigns, and other gossip in baseball, and we do that a lot. This time it was certainly primarily focused on the business at hand. And Paul was very strong and assertive about the interest in his team. If they were going to release someone from their contract, which he felt had a high degree of importance, they needed someone of quality in return.
So it was really plenty of talk about the principals but it was also about the standard to be applied to this transaction. And then Sox general manager Ben Cherington and Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos were part and parcel to that discussion a lot of the times and oftentimes were asked to focus on certain players.
But in general, I would say it was amicable, it was honest, and it proved to be productive, I think, for both teams.
Last year, when the Sox attempted to get Farrell in the managerial search that led to Bobby Valentine on Dec. 1, the Blue Jays asked for right-hander Clay Buchholz in return. That request abruptly stopped talks between the Sox and Jays. This year, with just a year left on his contract with Toronto, the Jays reigned in their requests somewhat, getting infielder Mike Aviles in return.
Lets just say that they made substantial demands on us throughout the process and it had to evolve over time for us to find the right combination of consideration, Lucchino said. Because absolutely they deserve consideration and they got it in our last years starting shortstop. Its a far cry from what the process we went through last year with respect to our general manager.
I would have to say yes there was a different tenor and I think part of it was because of the existing relationships that go back a few decades in baseball between us and the Blue Jays and Paul Beeston.